From the start, Crumb was a nebulous project, stitched together from various locations, inspirations, experiences, and relationships. Even in their early days, living in jam-packed Boston apartments in 2016, the group knew that cohesion was best achieved through plumbing their individual strengths—Ramani’s earliest songwriting, which catalyzed the group’s first two EPs, Crumb (2016) and Locket (2017); Bri Aronow’s knack for building (dis)affecting soundscapes; Jesse Brotter’s melodic bass playing, a Crumb mainstay; and Jonathan Gilad’s drums, which give the music an otherworldly vitality. Even as their fan base grew, they chose to remain independent, self-releasing each album, and now Ice Melt, through their own label, Crumb Records. These early decisions have made Crumb a project of self-discovery, four creative minds converging around an idea that is always shifting and reforming.
Early 2020 found the members of Crumb convening in Los Angeles to work with producer Jonathan Rado, engineer/mixer Michael Harris, and walls of instruments and vintage hi-fi recording equipment at Electro-Vox Studios and Sonora Recorders. Working with Rado and Harris allowed Crumb to tap into atmosphere-creation like never before, building experimental, hypnotic compositions that are at turns head-nodding and surrealist, energetic and euphoric. Spectral synth drones buoy lilting bass and drums through noise guitar interruptions, digital glitch, and processed vocals on “Trophy.” “Balloon” builds into a warbling disco with helium-sucking alien voices inviting you to dance.